Harkin endorses Obama's new path on Syria
Iowa senator credits president with turn toward diplomacy
Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, appears to be pleased with the latest developments in the effort to rid Syria of its chemical weapons.
The senator, who was outspoken about his strong hesitation to give President Barack Obama congressional authorization for unilateral strikes, credited the president with the latest turn toward diplomacy.
"This happened because of the strength, the wisdom, the courage of President Obama," he said at his 36th annual steak fry in Indianola, Iowa, where Vice President Joe Biden was his guest.
Harkin also praised the vice president and Secretary of State John Kerry for helping the United States reach an agreement with Russia that would help Syria hand over its chemical weapons to international control.
"We reached this agreement with the international community to secure them, to dismantle them by 2014, and we didn't lose one American life," he said, endorsing the path that led up to the agreement, even if it included a threat of force.
"That's leadership, folks. That's leadership."
Obama, however, has maintained that the U.S. is prepared to act if diplomacy fails.
Biden noted Harkin's tendency to speak out and subtly nodded to his position on Syria - an issue that sparked internal debates within both political parties.
"Tom has never been afraid to speak out, from the war in Vietnam, to the death squads in Central America, to the outrages of everything from genital mutilation of young women in Africa, to what's going on in Syria," he said.
But like Harkin, Biden praised the recent agreement between the United States and Russia and sought to put to rest criticism that argues the president has been indecisive on Syria.
"The president's vision is absolutely clear, he's absolutely straightforward," Biden said. "He in fact is the reason why the world community is facing up finally to this hideous prospect of (this) largest stockpile in the world of chemical weapons being confiscated and destroyed."
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